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SBY Redefines â??Gross Rights Violations,â?? Says Recent Incidents Donâ??t Fit the Bill

Sumber: THEJAKARTAGLOBE.COM | Tgl terbit: Sabtu, 21 Januari 2012

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono hit back on Friday at activists criticizing Indonesiaâ??s human rights record, saying recent violence could not be considered a gross human rights violation.

In front of National Police and Indonesian Military (TNI) officers on Friday, the president lectured on what constituted gross human rights violations.

â??The first is genocide, or mass murder, and [the second is] crimes against humanity,â? he said.

Law enforcement officers have been strongly criticized by local and international human rights groups recently over a spate of violent incidents that have led to the death of protesters, in places including Papua, Bima and Mesuji.

Yudhoyono said he regretted that some people were quick to blame the state for neglect in events that led to injury or death.

â??Too often the government is accused of omission. There are also those who are quick to accuse [the government] of gross human rights violations,â? Yudhoyono said.

Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission on Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), said the speech was more of a â??political reactionâ? to a recent spate of violence by officers in the field.

â??It is part of his defense to try to distort legal arguments used by civil society,â? Haris said.

He added that the president should travel to Papua and observe the situation for himself, or look closely at the situation of the Ahmadiyah minority sect.

â??These seemingly separate incidents were all caused by the same thing: prolonged ignorance by the state,â? Haris said. â??And the stateâ??s ignorance is a violation of human rights.â?

In his speech, Yudhoyono reminded the officials of the importance of upholding human rights and exercising caution in dealing with mobs.

â??Prevent excessive action that could potentially violate the law and human rights,â? he said. â??But continue the legal process against those who take the law into their own hands.â?

Yudhoyono also urged the police and military to be responsive toward the publicâ??s complaints, and addressed criticism that there were too many security officers in Papua.

â??It makes no sense when NGOs say that, as though [the government] should not enforce the rule of law and security in Papua,â? the president said, adding that the presence of separatist elements in the countryâ??s westernmost province justified the high level of security there.

But Andreas Harsono, a consultant for Human Rights Watch, said that so far none of the presidentâ??s promises for welfare improvement in Papua had yielded tangible results.

â??Papuans only see violence after violence in front of them,â? Andreas said, â??from wage problems in Freeport, to dozens arrested for raising the Morning Star flag.â?

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